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Bill, a young American, and his beautiful Japanese girlfriend, Junko, travel deep into a dark forest littered with suicide notes and corpses as they search for any trace of Junko s missing sister Along the way, the secrets of Junko s past unfurl and sink into the roots of the forest as Bill hobbles after her, a helpless observer This harrowing tale is interlaced with short flashes into the days preceding the suicides of people from all walks of life, souls all destined to die alone in a sea of Bill, a young American, and his beautiful Japanese girlfriend, Junko, travel deep into a dark forest littered with suicide notes and corpses as they search for any trace of Junko s missing sister Along the way, the secrets of Junko s past unfurl and sink into the roots of the forest as Bill hobbles after her, a helpless observer This harrowing tale is interlaced with short flashes into the days preceding the suicides of people from all walks of life, souls all destined to die alone in a sea of trees.There are a few ways this subject matter could have been handled It could have been a gothic horror, or slasher story It could have been a brutal nihilistic tale about hopelessness Instead, Mr Russell has penned elegant little stories about individual sufferers and woven them into the larger tapestry comprising a forest of death, but without gratuitous shock or contempt Depression is not a romantic thing, nor is it a pitiful thing, it is the beast of this almost fairy tale universe driving the lost into its jaws.The prose is compassionate and achingly accurate to anyone who has suffered a serious bout of depression The tales of the sufferers vary from those driven to sadness by their own mistakes, others by the coldness of their environment, and in others it s the monster living deep within them from birth I found passages of it so affecting it was like staring into a cold, clouded mirror I ve been running from my entire life And during her subconscious digging she unceremoniously realized it had always been there like a pit inside her that she could remember ever not feeling this way This realization was a comfort to her, of all things, knowing this was part of her, that, perhaps she had been broken since birth, and like that, a wave wobbling over her, the desire to end it all returned, but with less malice than before At a slick, swift 105 pages, this story is no longer than it needs to be but it casts it spell, putting its cold fingers around your wrist and leading you into the forest where ever macabre sights await The character of Bill servesas our avatar in the story, a man as innocent and wondering as the reader Junko is by far thedynamic character, a small beauty of stubborn strength and obsession, fearing neither ghost or the rolling darkness as she pushes deeper and deeper into the forest.I applaud Mr Russell for this gem of a tale Reluctant 4 stars It s very different to anything I ve read and there were parts I thought were really well written but I did think you could see the ending coming a mile off and Bill is quite frankly a dick The good parts outweighed the bad ones overall though so 4 I had never heard of the suicide forest until seeing the movie, The Sea of Trees starring Matthew McConaughey and Ken Watanabe I read somewhere that when the movie was shown at Cannes film festival, the audience booed at the end I wanted to boo at end of this novella I felt so badly for Bill He was so supportive and kind to his distant, moody girlfriend, Junko I understand that different countries, religions, and ideals have different values and morals but suicide could and should never I had never heard of the suicide forest until seeing the movie, The Sea of Trees starring Matthew McConaughey and Ken Watanabe I read somewhere that when the movie was shown at Cannes film festival, the audience booed at the end I wanted to boo at end of this novella I felt so badly for Bill He was so supportive and kind to his distant, moody girlfriend, Junko I understand that different countries, religions, and ideals have different values and morals but suicide could and should never be as easy and as blissful as this story makes it seem Everyone faces challenges and difficulties, from broken homes, homelessness, abuse, and neglect, but this book would have the reader believe that suicide is the answer to all of lifes various problems No hope, no thought for anyone else or that your senseless act may affect someone I feel incredibly sad I also feel angry that this way of thinking may cause someone to act on an impulse This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers To view it, click here En bok som jag gick in i utan f rv ntningar och blev faktiskt besviken, stor potential att vara v ldigt bra Relationen mellan karakt rerna k ndes v ldigt udda och utan n gon som helst bakgrund om dem s fick inte plot twisten den reaktion som troligtvis var f rv ntad Det som r ddade boken var delarna skrivna om personerna som tillslut hamnat i Aokigahara. A nice little collection of stories based on Aokigahara, the Suicide Forest, and those who chose to end their lives there. I really have a great time with this novella, I always wanted to read something about the Aokigahara Forest I recommend this book. There is a short documentary on YouTube, about twenty minutes long, about the Aokigahara Forest also known as Jaiku in Japan The documentary follows Azusa Hayano, a geologist who frequents the forest, as he explores the undergrowth, looking for signs of people who might have committed suicide there The forest, after all, is famous as one of the most popular sites in the world for people to commit suicide, a tradition that stretches back even before modern times in times of famine, the loca There is a short documentary on YouTube, about twenty minutes long, about the Aokigahara Forest also known as Jaiku in Japan The documentary follows Azusa Hayano, a geologist who frequents the forest, as he explores the undergrowth, looking for signs of people who might have committed suicide there The forest, after all, is famous as one of the most popular sites in the world for people to commit suicide, a tradition that stretches back even before modern times in times of famine, the locals used to leave the elderly, unwanted babies, the sick, and other people that society sought to exclude for the sake of survival, leading to a longstanding association of the place with death and, not surprisingly, the ghosts of those who died there.The forest, with its rugged density and lack of wildlife, enveloping the place in an eerie blanket of silence, seems particularly conducive to this kind of mythologizing In 1960, Seichi Matsumoto captured the Japanese imagination with the publication of his as yet untranslated novel Kuroi Jukai Black Sea of Trees , a romantic story of two doomed lovers Robert James Russell s novella seems to have been inspired by a conjunction of these sources.The narrative is simple enough Divided into chapters with headings like Sacrifice and Enlightenment, the main story follows two characters, Junko, a beautiful young Japanese woman, and Bill, an American, the two having met and fallen in love while they were students The purpose of their journey is to discover some sign of Izumi, Junko s older sister, who had disappeared in the forest, presumably having committed suicide Each chapter concludes with a self contained, italicized story about an unrelated character or characters who died in the forest due to various motives shame, guilt, murder, and even a simple fascination with death.I had a number of problems with Sea of Trees For a start, so many of the elements from the aforementioned documentary seemed to have been incorporated into the basic details of the story the abandoned car in the parking lot, the deserted campsite, the forlorn body of a deceased person, the doll nailed to a tree with a suicide note nailed next to it Often it felt as though the novella I was reading was a transposition of the documentary into written form, with only minor modifications.As we get into the second half of the book, the personalities of the two main characters start to emerge, revealing a major weakness of Russell s abilities as a writer Both Bill and Junko are disappointingly flat characters Bill simply switches back and forth between lusting after Junko and meekly allowing her to walk all over him, while Junko is so unrealistically obsessed with finding her sister that she abandons all logic and, particularly in the final pages, believability She reveals secrets about Izumi that make sense of her sister s suicide, but her own behavior is so over the top that she made no inherent sense to me at all her actions seemed a rather artificial device on Russell s part to push the plot to its culmination rather than any explicable, organic development in her character.The element of Sea of Trees that I was least able to stomach, though, was its uncritical romanticism Let s not forget that the world s first romantic novel Goethe s The Sorrows of Young Werther 1774 also deals with the issue of suicide While I can sympathize with the seductive power that Aokigahara, with its legends of demons and death, wields over the human imagination it was what sparked my interest in Russell s novella in the first place what I found both lazy and problematic about the book was its wholesale acceptance of this tradition The reader is not only led to empathize repeatedly with the suicide victims in the book, but also to accept the mystical power that is associated with the place Bill does make some feeble attempts to give voice to reason, but they are quickly lost in the emotional deluge of Junko s mania.Sea of Trees could have been a powerful and complex examination of what life means in the face of death, especially when humanity is faced with the complex phenomenon of its own self destruction Russell draws on the operatic, emotional power of the romantic tradition to give his novel punch, but the problem is that this formula is so worn out that, quite simply, I can t believe in its nobility any I read Goethe s Werther, for instance, and I think Put the pistols away, young man this Lotte woman is not worth it Your momentary, youthful despair is far less daring than having the maturity to face life with all its prismatic hardness Surely that is what novelists, in the twenty first century, ought to have learned, too or at the very least, that romanticism is fine when it arouses us into life, but pushed to its extreme it descends into the very worst kind of nihilism Where this book excels is in the vignettes of those who suicided in Aokigahara Jukai forest we see the last moments of these people s lives in chilling, haunting portraiture Similarly, the world of the forest is brought to life the writing itself is clear, yet peppered with poignant phrasing The first person present tense is sound and is a good match for this type of piece The tension between the two characters is fantastic, as there is push and pull but neither gets what s desired It s al Where this book excels is in the vignettes of those who suicided in Aokigahara Jukai forest we see the last moments of these people s lives in chilling, haunting portraiture Similarly, the world of the forest is brought to life the writing itself is clear, yet peppered with poignant phrasing The first person present tense is sound and is a good match for this type of piece The tension between the two characters is fantastic, as there is push and pull but neither gets what s desired It s also an easy read although the lack of commas where there should ve been drove me crazy I m not sure if this was an editing fail or if it s some style I m not familiar with.Despite all of that, however, I d only be able to recommend SEA OF TREES to those who are deeply interested in the forest.Although the stories of those who suicided are, as previously noted, gorgeously rendered and ultimatelyinteresting and a better read than the grounding narrative , they re inserted in a klutzy, stilted manner We are solidly in the first person present tense, and then out of nowhere comes this third person limited past tense passage about some other character we don t know, penned in italics just in case we didn t notice it s not the same story It s completely jarring and ruins the flow and using font or style to show a shift of any kind is cheating Since I suspect in a few places the intent was to have the present day characters come across the remains of each of the bodies which isn t made clear if that s the case some pivotal touchstone would work better.The central thread Junko and Bill wandering the forest feels like a first draft that needswork those elements that are there are disorganized so that these sections seem to lack depth and forward movement First off, it seems as though this is meant to be a relationship story The problem, though, is that we really don t get to see Junko and Bill s relationship with any insight We don t see their standing issues in other words, the baggage each has brought to their private table so it s tough to understand the relationship s dissolution For example, she s so nasty to him it just doesn t seem realistic she s all anger and snot and no other shade of emotion He doesn t seem to care, describing her as beautiful so many times it doesn t mean anything after a while, but then in a couple of moments he s so suddenly horny it feels inappropriate Having people together that way is fine, but we need to know why they re treating each other like that and if it s that bad why are they still together If they love each other, we can t see it Their relationship is so poorly depicted that its devolution really isn t anything thanthan insignificant bickering it s even irritating after a while.We also don t know anything about them as people or their motives until the story s almost over stuff we should know up front or revealed in dribs and drabs How did Bill meet Junko, for example Does he work Does she work When we finally do learn all this information 85% of the way through the book, it s presented in dialogue during a screaming match which doesn t make sense wouldn t they know all of this about each other , or in an inorganically placed flashback What we never learn If Junko s sister s been dead for so long years and years, apparently , why are they only looking for the body now in other words, what s Junko s deal Did something happen to suddenly make her do this She s kept a secret for so long but after all this time NOW she needs to do this to help keep it Why There really needs to be some fleshing out of characters and some idea of motive.There are also a few conversations that feel flat and present only for the benefit of the reader In particular, discussions regarding the yurei seem emotionless and, surely, something this couple would have talked about before arriving in the forest And speaking of yurei, their suggested presence at the end comes out of nowhere and feels too convenient whether it s really yurei or just Junko s descent into madness, it needs to be justified.What s really a shame about SEA OF TREES is that the Bill and Junko story seems pointless If it were removed entirely, the beautifully written, haunting and moving narratives of the suicided would make for a top notch short story collection If you re interested in the Aokigahara forest, then I d recommend picking up this book and only reading the sections in italics I truly wanted to like this bookthan I did The topic itself intrigued me, and the fault of my indifference may be due to the fact I had finished a different 400 page book about the aokigahara forest I also failed to notice the book was a novella, so it was incredibly short 100 pages but the font is huge Anyways, I found the main character slightly annoying and her dialogue seemed immature which I found somewhat annoying The interesting part of the book view spoiler was that instead I truly wanted to like this bookthan I did The topic itself intrigued me, and the fault of my indifference may be due to the fact I had finished a different 400 page book about the aokigahara forest I also failed to notice the book was a novella, so it was incredibly short 100 pages but the font is huge Anyways, I found the main character slightly annoying and her dialogue seemed immature which I found somewhat annoying The interesting part of the book view spoiler was that instead of encountering bodies in the forest, you are given random stories of people and background into their lives on why they chose to kill themselves which broke the story up hide spoiler Otherwise I found the ending predictable although it s not entirely clear what view spoiler Her sisters diary said to drive her to suicide hide spoiler I felt the book didn t have a solid ending Kind of left me hanging `Download Book ☔ Sea of Trees ☂ Swirling mystery permeates Sea of Trees as Bill, an American college student, and his Japanese girlfriend Junko traverse the Aokigahara Forest in Japan infamous as one of the world s top suicide destinations in search of evidence of Junko s sister Izumi who disappeared there a year previous As the two follow clues and journey deeper into the woods amid the eerily quiet and hauntingly beautiful landscape bypassing tokens and remains of the departed, suicide notes tacked to trees and shrines put up by forlorn loved ones they ll depend on one another in ways they never had to before, testing the very fabric of their relationship And, as daylight quickly escapes them and they find themselves lost in the dark veil of night, Bill discovers a truth Junko has hidden deep within her a truth that will change them both forever